Last week, I was invited to experience a cut and colour at a brand new salon based at The Old Trinity Church in Marlow. I was intrigued when I was asked to bring not only all the tools and products I use to style my hair, but a ‘mood board’ depicting my hair journey and any styles or ideas I might have. In the weeks running up to my appointment at The Chapel, I enjoyed giving serious thought to what I actually want from my hair, and created a folder of saved images on Instagram of styles and colours that appealed to me.
My appointment was with founder Amanda Dicker and I was warmly welcomed into the beautiful salon space with a delicious Cointreau-laced hot chocolate (why is this not a thing? It totally should be!). As she was showing me around the beautiful old church, which has been completely transformed with a beautiful, muted palette of blush pink, tan, grey and cream, Amanda told me about the evolution of the brand (which now encompasses six salons from London to Verbier), and her vision of how she wants customers of The Chapel to feel. Amanda’s wish is for her clients to be welcomed in for a coffee (or glass of wine) and a chat with their stylist before they even get anywhere near a chair or a pair of scissors, and I found myself nodding in agreement when Amanda was saying that for most women, it’s more about the whole salon experience and how it makes you feel than the actual cut or colour you end up with.
The salon interiors are cleverly designed to create a welcoming, luxurious environment, more reminiscent of a high end hotel than a salon, and the Old Trinity Church is utterly stunning inside with big, squishy velvet and leather sofas piled high with cushions; a light, open cutting area (stylists keep the tools of their trade in baskets and take them around as they need them), and a gorgeous colour area flooded with light from the stunning stained glass windows. The backwashes are tucked away in a warm, calming spa-like space, scented with flickering candles and furnished with the comfiest chairs I’ve ever tried (I nearly nodded off after the most incredible head massage while my treatment was doing its work).
As we chatted, I was almost embarrassed to show Amanda my bog-standard Babyliss hairdryer and old faithful brush, but she was really sweet as I explained that I’m a bit baffled as to what shampoos and conditioners I should be using, and was seriously complimentary about my ‘modern’ choice of styles in my Instagram mood board. Pricing is another thing that’s completely different: everything is priced by time, starting from about £50 for an hour with a stylist, up to £140 an hour with Amanda. The consultation is completely free and unhurried, and everything is then chatted through so you know exactly what to expect and what you’re going to pay before you start.
We chatted about the fact that since I’ve gone back to brown, I’ve found the colour a bit warm (I feel like my natural colour is quite cool and ashy and warm colours don’t suit my skintone). Happily, Amanda agreed, and actually persuaded me to go a little bit darker brown, working out a plan to get my hair in better condition with a salon-based gloss treatment and then a combination of Redken products. I was surprised that I didn’t need loads of hair cut off, but instead of chopping off the standard inch off the bottom of my hair, Amanda took time working around my head, taking off some of the damaged hair from the mid lengths. The result was healthy, swingy hair that’s much easier to style too. There was absolutely no hard sell, and I was given a ton of samples to try at home before committing to buying full-sized products anywhere I like.
The whole experience was incredibly pampering, and I’m delighted with my cut and colour. My hair feels soft and healthy and I’m loving the darker brunette and how shiny it looks. I love the concept of The Chapel, and Amanda’s ethos of taking time out of our busy lives to indulge in a few hours of me-time, rather than rushing in and getting your usual hairdo. I think once you’ve experienced your own moment to pause at The Chapel, Marlow, you’ll be hard pushed to want anything else for your hair.
Thanks so much to Amanda and everyone at The Chapel for a wonderful, pampering morning.